Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

1

It throbs, and you have a heart that does not

Enter ELDRED. feel it.

Eld.

Better this bare rock, Mar. (exultingly). She is innocent. Though it were tottering over a man's head,

(He embraces her. Than a tight case of dungeon walls for shelter Osw. (aside).

Were I a Moralist, From such rough dealing. I should make wondrous revolution here ;

(A moaning voice is heard. It were a quaint experiment to show

Ha! what sound is that? The beauty of truth- [Addressing them. Trees creaking in the wind (but none are here) I see I interrupt you:

Send forth such noises--and that weary bell! I shall have business with you, Marmaduke ; Surely some evil Spirit abroad to-night Follow me to the Hostel. [Exit OSWALD. Is ringing it-'twould stop a Saint in prayer, I don. Marmad

And that-what is it? never was und so lik This is a happy day. My Father soon

A human groan,

Ha! what is here? Poor Shall sun himself before his native doors ;

ManThe lame, the hungry, will be welcome there. Murdered! alas ! speak-speak, I am your No more shall he complain of wasted strength,

friend: Of thoughts that fail, and a decaying heart; No answer-hush--lost wretch, he lifts his His good works will be balm and life to him.

hand Mar. This is most strange! I know not And lays it to his heart-(Kneels to him). I what it was,

pray you speak ! But there was something which most plainly What has befallen you? said,

Her, (feebly).

A stranger has done this, That thou wert innocent,

And in the arms of a stranger I must die.
I don.
How innocent !--

Eld. Nay, think not so; come, let me raise Oh heavens! you've been deceived.

you up:

(Raises him. Mar.

Thou art a Woman This is a dismal place-well--that is wellTo bring perdition on the universe.

I was too fearful-take me for your guide I don. Already I've been punished to the And your support-my hut is not far off. height

[Draws him gently off the stage. Of my offence. [Smiling affectionately. I see you love me still,

SCENE, a room in the Hostel --MARMADUKE The labours of my hand are still your joy ;

and OSWALD. Bethink you of the hour when on your shoulder Mar. But for Idonea !- I have cause to think I hung this belt.

That she is innocent. [Pointing to the belt on which was sus- Osw.

Leave that thought awhile, pended HERBERT's scrip.

As one of those beliefs which in their hearts Mar. Mercy of Heaven. [Sinks. Lovers lock up as pearls, though oft no better Idon. What ails you! (Distractedly. Than feathers clinging to their points of Mar. The scrip that held his food, and I passion. forgot

This day's event has laid on me the duty To give it back again!

Of

opening out my story; you must hear it, I don.

What mean your words ? And without further preface. - In my youth, Mar. I know not what I said --all may be Except for that abatement which is paid well.

By envy as a tribute to desert, Idon. That smile hath life in it!

I was the pleasure of all hearts, the darling Mar.

This road is perilous ; | Of every tongue-as you are now. You've I will attend you to a Hut that stands

heard Near the wood's edge-rest there to-night, I That I embarked for Syria. On our voyage pray you:

Was hatched among the crew a foul Conspiracy For me, I have business, as you hear ith Against my honour, in the which our Captain Oswald,

Was, I believed, prime Agent. The wind fell; But will return to you by break of day. We lay becalmed week after week, until

(Exeunt. The water of the vessel was exhausted ;

I felt a double fever in my veins,

Yet rage suppressed itself :-to a deep stillness ACT IV.

Did my pride tame my pride ;-for many days,

On a dead sea under a burning sky, SCENE, A desolate prospect--aridge of rocksa Chapel on the summit of one-Moon By man and nature; - if a breeze had blown,

I brooded o'er my injuries, deserted behind

the rocks-night stormy-irregular It might have found its way into my heart, sound of a bellHERBERT enters exhausted.

And I had been-no matter-do you mark me? Her. That Chapel-bell in mercy seemed to Mar. Quick--to the point-if any untold

crime But now it mocks my steps ; its fitful stroke

Doth hannt your memory. Can scarcely be the work of human hands. Osw.

Patience, hear me further! Hear me, ye Men, upon the cliffs, if such One day in silence did we drift at noon There be who pray nightly before the Altar. By a bare rock, narrow, and white, and bare ; Oh that I had but strength to reach the place ! No food was there, no drink, no grass, no My Child-my child-dark-dark- I faint- shade, this wind

No tree, nor jutting eminence, nor form These stifling blasts-God help me!

Inanimate large as the body of man,

guide me,

moon.

did so.

Nor any living thing whose lot of life

The plot to rid themselves, at any cost, Might stretch beyond the measure of one Of a tyrannic Master whom they loathe

So we pursued our voyage: when we landed, To dig for water on the spot, the Captain The tale was spread abroad: my power at once Landed with a small troop, myself being one : Shrunk from me; plans and schemes, and lofty There I reproached him with his treachery.

hopesImperious at all times, his temper rose; All vanished. I gave way-do you attend ? He struck me; and that instant had I killed Mar. The Crew deceived you? him,

Osw.

Nay, command yourself. And put an end to his insoience, but my Com- Mar. It is a dismal night-how the wind rades

howls ! Rushed in between us : then did I insist

Osw. I hid my head within a Convent, (All hated him, and I was stung to madness) Lay passive as a dormouse in mid winter. that we should leave him there, alive !-we That was no life for me-I was o'erthrown

But not destroyed. Mar, And he was famished ?

Mar. The proofs-you ought to have seen Osw.

Naked was the spot ; | The guilt-have touched it-felt it at your Methinks I see it now-how in the sun

heart Its stony surface glittered like a shield;

As I have done. And in that miserable place we left him,

Osw.

A fresh tide of Crusaders Alone but for a swarm of minute creatures Drove by the place of my retreat: three nights Not one of which could help him while alive, Did constant meditation dry my blood ; Or mourn him dead.

Three sleepless nights I passed in sounding on, Mar.

A man by men cast off, Through words and things, a dim and perilous Left without burial ! nay, not dead nor dying,

way: But standing, walking, stretching forth his And, wheresoe'er I turned me, I beheld arms,

A slavery compared to which the dungeon In all things like ourselves, but in the agony And clanking chains are perfect liberty. With which he called for mercy; and-even You understand me, I was comforted; SO

I saw that every possible shape of action He was forsaken?

Might lead to good-I saw it and burst forth Osw.

There is a power in sounds: Thirsting for some of those exploits that fill The cries he uttered might have stopped the | The earth for sure redemption of lost peace. boat

(Marking MARMADUKE's countenance, That bore us through the water

Nay, you have had the worst. Ferocity Mar.

You returned Subsided in a moment, like a wind Upon that dismal hearing-did you not? That drops down dead out of a sky it vexed. Osw. Some scoffed at him with hellish And yet I had within me evermore mockery,

A salient spring of energy; I mounted And laughed so loud-it seemed that the smooth From action up to action with a mind

That never rested-without meat or drink Did from some distant region echo us.

Have I lived many days—my sleep was bound Mar. We all are of one blood, our veins are To purposes of reason-not a dream filled

But had a continuity and substance At the same poisonous fountain !

That waking life had never power to give. Osw.

'Twas an island Mar. O wretched Human-kind !-Until the Only by sufferance of the winds and waves,

mystery Which with their foam could cover it at will. Of all this world is solved, well may we envy I know not how he perished; but the calm, The worm, that, underneath a stone whose The same dead calm, continued many days.

weight Mar. But his own crime had brought on him Would crush the lion's paw with mortal anguish, this doom,

Doth lodge, and feed, and coil, and sleep, in His wickedness prepared it; these expedients safety. Are terrible, yet ours is not the fault.

Fell not the wrath of Heaven upon those Osw. The man was famished, and was inno- traitors? cent!

Osw. Give not to them a thought. From Mar. Impossible !

Palestine Osw. The man had never wronged me. We marched to Syria : oft I left,che Camp, Mar. Banish the thought, crush it, and be at When all that multitude of hearts was still, peace.

And followed on, through woods of gloomy His guilt was marked-these things could never cedar, be

Into deep chasms troubled by roaring streams : Were there not eyes that see, and for good ends, Or from the top of Lebanon surveyed Where ours are baffled.

The moonlight desert, and the moonlight sea : Osw.

I had been deceived. In these my lonely wanderings I perceived Mar. And from that hour the miserable man What mighty objects do impress their forms No more was heard of?

To elevate our intellectual being ; Osw.

I had been betrayed. And felt, if aught on earth deserves a curse, Mar. And he found no deliverance! 'Tis that worst principle of ill which dooms Osw.

The Crew A thing so great to perish self-consumed. Gave me a hearty welcome; they had laid -So much for my remorse!

sea

Mar.

Unhappy Man ! Therein for ever you must yield to me. Osw. When from these forms turned to But what is done will save you from the blank contemplate

Of living without knowledge that you live : The World's opinions and her usages,

Now you are suffering-for the future day, I seemed a Being who had passed alone 'Tis his who will command it.-Think of my Into a region of futurity,

storyWhose natural element was freedom

Herbert is innocent. Mar.

Stop! Mar. (in a faint voice, and doubtingly). You I may not, cannot, follow thee.

do but echo Osw.

You must

My own wild words! I had been nourished by the sickly food

Osu.

Young Man, the secd must lie Of popular applause. I now perceived Hid in the earth, or there can be no harvest : That we are praised, only as men in us

"Tis Nature's law. What I have done in darkDo recognise some image of themselves, &

ness
An abject counterpart of what they are, I will avow before the face of day.
Or the empty thing that they would wish to be. Herbert is innocent.
I felt that merit has no surer test

Mar

What fiend could prompt Than obloquy : that, if we wish to serve This action? Innocent !--oh, breaking heart !The world in substance, not deceive by show, Alive or dead, I'll find him.

(Erit. We must become obnoxious to its hate,

Osre.

Alive--perdition ! (Exit. Or fear disguised in simulated scorn. Mar. I pity, can forgive, you; but those

Scene, the inside of a poor Cottage. wretches

ELEANOR and IDONEA seated. That monstrous perfidy!

Idon. The storm beats hard - Mercy for poor Osw. Keep down your wrath.

or rich, False Shame discarded, spurious Fame de- Whose heads are shelterless in such a night! spised,

A Voice without. Holla! to bed, good Folks, Twin sisters both of Ignorance, I found

within ! Life stretched before me smooth as some broad Elea. O save us! way

Idon. What can this mean? Cleared for a monarch's progress. Priests might Elea.

Alas, for my poor husband !spin

We'll have a counting of our flocks to-morrow; Their veil, but not for me-'twas in fit place The wolf keeps festival these stormy nights • Among its kindred cobwebs. I had been, Be calm, sweet Lady, they are wassailers And in that dream had left my native land,

[The voices die away in the distance. One of Love's simple bondsmen the soft chain Returning from their Feast-my heart beats Was off for ever ; and the men, from whom This liberation came, you would destroy: A noise at midnight does so frighten me. Join me in thanks for their blind services.

I don. Hush!

[Listening Mar. 'Tis a strange aching that, when we Elea,

They are gone.

On such a would curse

night, my husband, And cannot. —You have betrayed me—I have Dragged from his bed, was cast into a dungeon, done

Where, hid from me, he counted many years, I am content--I know that he is guiltless- A criminal in no one's eyes but theirsThat both are guiltless, without spot or stain, Not even in theirs-whose brutal violence Mutually consecrated. Poor old Man!

So dealt with him. And I had heart for this, because thou lovedst Idon.

I have a noble Friend Her who from very infancy had been

First among youths of knightly breeding, One Light to thy path, warmth to thy blood !-To-Who lives but to protect the weak or injured. gether [Turning to Oswald. There again!

[Listening: We propped his steps, he leaned upon us both. Elea. 'Tis my husband's foot. Good Eldred Osw. Ay, we are coupled by a chain of ada. Has a kind heart ; but his imprisonment mant ;

Has made him fearful, and he'll never be
Let us be fellow-labourers, then, to enlarge The man he was.
Man's intellectual empire. We subsist

Idon.

I will retire :--good night! In slavery; all is slavery : we receive

[She goes within. Laws, but we ask not whence those laws have come;

Enter ELDRED, (hides a bundle). We need an inward sting to goad us on.

Eld. Not yet in bed, Eleanor !--- there are Mar. Have you betrayed me? Speak to that. stains in that frock which must be washed out. Osw.

The mask, Elea. What has befallen you? Which for a season I have stooped to wear, Eld. I am belated, and you must know the Must be cast off. - Know then that I was urged, cause—(speaking low) that is the blood of an un(For other impulse let it pass) was driven, happy Man. To seek for sympathy, because I saw

Elea. Oh! we are undone for ever. In you a mirror of my youthful self ;

Eld. Heaven forbid that I should lift my hand I would have made us equal once again, against any man. Eleanor, I have shed tears But that was a vain hope. You have struck to-night, and it comforts me to think of it. home,

Elca. Where, where is he? With a few drops of blood cut short the busi- Eld. I have done him no harm, but --it will ness;

be forgiven me; it would not have been so once.

SO

the glen,

Elea. You have not buried anything? You Eld. 'Tis all in vain. are no richer than when you left me?

Elea. But let us make the attempt. This old Eld. Be at peace ; I am innocent.

Man

may have a wife, and he may have childElea. Then God be thanked

ren- let us return to the spot, we may restore [A short pause; she falls upon his neck. him, and his eyes may yet open upon those that Eld. To-night I met with an old Man lying love him, stretched upon the ground-a sad spectacle : I Eld. He will never open them more ; even raised him up with a hope that we might shelter when he spoke to me, he kept them firmly sealed and restore him.

as if he had been blind. Elea. (as if ready to run). Where is he? You I don. (rushing out). It is, it is, my Fatherwere not able to bring him all the way with you; Eld. We are betrayed (looking at IDONEA). let us return, I can help you.

Elea. His Daughter !-God have mercy! (ELDRED shakes his head. (turning to IDONEA). Eld. He did not seem to wish for life: as I was Idon. (sinking down). Oh! lift me up and struggling on, by the light of the moon I saw carry me to the place. the stains of blood upon my clothes-he waved | You are safe ; the whole world shall not harm his hand, as if it were all useless : and I let him you. sink again to the ground,

Elea, This Lady is his Daughter. Elea, Oh that I had been by your side! Eld. (moved). I'll lead you to the spot.

Eld. I tell you his hands and his body were Idon. (springing up). Alive !-you heard him cold-how could I disturb his last moments? he breathe ? quick, quick- (Exeunt. strove to turn from me as if he wished to settle into sleep

ACT V. Elea. But, for the stains of blood

SCENE, A wood on the edge of the Waste. Eld. He must have fallen, I fancy, for his head was cut; but I think his malady was cold

Enter OSWALD and a Forester. and hunger.

For. He leaned upon the bridge that spans Elea. Oh, Eldred, I shall never be able to look up at this roof in storm or fair but I shall | And down into the bottom cast his eye, tremble,

That fastened there, as it would check the Eld. Is it not enough that my ill stars have

current. kept me abroad to-night till this hour? I come Osw. He listened too; did you not say he home, and this is my comfort !

listened? Elea. But did he say nothing which might For. As if there came such moaning from have set you at ease ?

the flood Eld. I thought he grasped my hand while he As is heard often after stormy nights. was muttering something about his Child-his Osw. But did he utter nothing ? Daughter-(starting as if he heard a noise). For.

See him there! What is that?

MARMADUKE appearing. Elea. Eldred, you are a father.

Mar. Buzz, buzz, ye black and winged freeEld. God knows what was in my heart, and booters; will not curse my son for my sake.

That is no substance which ye settle on! Elea. But you prayed by him ? you waited For. His senses play him false ; and see, his the hour of his release?

Eld. The night was wasting fast; I have no Outspread, as if to save himself from falling ! friend ; I am spited by the world -- his wound Some terrible phantom I believe is now terrified me-if I had brought him along with Passing before him, such as God will not me, and he had died in my arms!- I am sure Permit to visit any but a man I heard something breathing-and this chair ! Who has been guilty of some horrid crime. Elea. Oh, Eldred, you will die alone. You

(MARMADUKE disappears. will have nobody to close your eyes--no hand Osw. The game is up! to grasp your dying hand-I shall be in my

For.

If it be needful, Sir, grave. A curse will attend us all.

I will assist you to lay hands upon him. Eld. Have you forgot your own troubles Osw. No, no, my Friend, you may pursue when I was in the dungeon?

your businessElea, And you left him alive?

'Tis a poor wretch of an unsettled mind, Eld. Alive !--the damps of death were upon | Who has a trick of straying from his keepers; him-he could not have survived an hour. We must be gentle., Leave him to my care. Elea, In the cold, cold night,

[Exit Forester. Eld, (in a savage tone). Ay, and his head was If his own eyes play false with him, these bare : I suppose you would have had me lend freaks my bonnet to cover it. You will never rest till Of fancy shall be quickly tamed by mine ; I am brought to a felon's end.

The goal is reached. My Master shall become Elea. Is there nothing to be done ? cannot we A shadow of myself-made by myself. go to the Convent? Eld. Ay, and say at once that I murdered

SCENE, the edge of the Moor. him!

MARMADUKE and ELDRED enter from opposite

sides. Elea. Eldred, I know that ours is the only house upon the Waste ; let us take heart: this Mar. (raising his eyes and perceiving Man may be rich : and could he be saved by Eldred.) In any corner of this savage our means, his gratitude may reward us.

Waste,

arms

now

Have you, good Peasant, seen a blind old Man? Eld. My wife and children came into my Eld. I heard

mind. 1 Mar.

You heard him, where? when Mar. Oh Monster! Monster! there are heard him?

three of us, Eld. As you know,

And we shall howl together, The first hours of last night were rough with

[After a pause and in a feeble voice. storm :

I am deserted I had been out in search of a stray heifer; At my worst need, my crimes have in a net Returning late, I heard a moaning sound; (Pointing to ELDRED) Entangled this poor Then, thinking that my fancy had deceived

man. me,

Where was it? where? I hurried on, wh straight a second moan,

[Dragging him along. A human voice distinct, struck on my ear.

Eld. 'Tis needless ; spare your violence. So guided, distant a few steps, I found

His Daughter-An aged Man, and such as you describe. Mar. Ay, in the word a thousand scorpions Mar. You heard !-he called you to him ? lodge: Of all men

This old man had a Daughter. The best and kindest! but where is he? guide Eld.

To the spot me,

I hurried back with her.-O save me, Sir, That I may see him.

From such a journey !--there was a black Eld. On a ridge of rocks

tree, A lonesome Chapel stands, deserted now: A single tree ; she thought it was her Father.The bell is left, which no one dares remove; Oh Sir, I would not see that hour again And, when the stormy wind blows o'er the For twenty lives. The daylight dawned, and

peak, It rings, as if a human hand were there Nay; hear my tale, 'tis fit that

you

should hear To pull the cord. I guess he must have heard itit;

As we approached, a solitary crow And it had led him towards the precipice, Rose from the spot ;-the Daughter clapped her To climb up to the spot whence the sound came; hands, But he had failed through weakness. From And then I heard a shriek so terrible his hand

[MARMADUKE shrinks back. His staff had dropped, and close upon the brink The startled bird quivered upon the wing. Of a small pool of water he was laid,

Mar. Dead, dead ! As if he had stooped to drink, and so remained Eld. (after a pause). A dismal matter, Sir, Without the strength to rise. Mar.

Well, well, he lives, And seems the like for you; if 'tis your wish, And all is safe: what said he ?

I'll lead you to his Daughter ; but 'twere best Eld.

But few words: That she should be prepared ; I'll go before. He only spake to me of a dear Daughter, Mar. There will be need of preparation. Who, so he feared, would never see him more ;

(ÉLDRED goes off: And of a Stranger to him, One by whom Elea. (enters).

Master! He had been sore misused; but he forgave Your limbs sink under you, shall I support you? The wrong and the wrong-doer.

You are

Mar. (taking her arm). Woman, I've lent troubled

my body to the service Perhaps you are his son?

Which now thou tak'st upon thee. God forbid Mar.

The All-seeing knows, That thou shouldst ever meet a like occasion I did not think he had a living Child. - With such a purpose in thine heart as mine was. But whither did you carry him?

Elea. Oh, why have I to do with things like Eld.

He was torn,
these?

[Exeunt. His head was bruised, and there was blood about him

ScenEchanges to the door of ELDRED's cottageMar. That was no work of mine.

IDONEA seated-enter ELDRED. Eld.

Nor was it mine. Eld. Your Father, Lady, from a wilful hand Mar. But had he strength to walk? I could Has met unkindness; so indeed he told me, have borne him

And you remember such was my report: A thousand miles.

From what has just befallen me I have cause Eld. I am in poverty,

To fear the very worst. And know how busy are the tongues of men;

I don.

My Father is dead; My heart was willing, Sir, but I am one Why dost thou come to me with words like Whose good deeds will not stand by their own these? light ;

Eld. A wicked Man should answer for his And, though it smote me more than words can crimes. tell,

Idon. Thou seest me what I am. I left him.

Eld.

It was most heinous, Mar. I believe that there are phantoms,

And doth call out for vengeance. That in the shape of man do cross our path

I don.

Do not add, On evil instigation, to make sport

I prithee, to the harm thou'st done already. Of our distress-and thou art one of them! Eld. Hereafter you will thank me for this But things substantial have so pressed on service. mc

Hard by, a Man I met, who, from plain proofs

for me,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »